1957 BMW 507 Roadster

Removing the issues of performance, reliability and dealer service-
significant considerations in 1957-the 507’s charms rise to the surface

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In the early 1950s, BMW covered opposite ends of the automotive spectrum. On the one hand, R24 motorcycles and Isetta bubble cars provided inexpensive transportation for the average German citizen. On the other hand, the large and well-appointed 501 was intended for the upper middle class and was powered by the pre-war hemi-head, inline 6-cylinder engine used on the sporty 328.

Despite being underpowered for its size, the 501 was well received once production began in 1952. By 1954, BMW had finally solved its power problem with the introduction of the 502, which carried a 2.6-liter V8. Finally, in an effort to counter offerings from Mercedes, BMW unveiled two new models at the 1955 Frankfurt show. The 503 was offered as a coupe or cabriolet, and carried a 140-horsepower development of the original V8, now enlarged to 3.2 liters. It was the 507, however, that stole the show.

Designed by Count Albrecht Goertz, an established industrial engineer based in the United States, and fitted with the 3,168-cc V8 engine producing 160 horsepower, the 507 held its own against contemporary competition, in looks at least.

Credit for its initial conception goes to post-war U.S. importer Max Hoffman, who recognized the strength of the American economy as a lifeline for struggling German car manufacturers. Not satisfied with BMW’s own proposal for a 507 convertible, Hoffman called upon Goertz to create an independent design. The car entered production the following November as a 1957 model.

While Hoffman had initially targeted an upper-middle-class-friendly price range, production costs for the hand-built 507 escalated its price to over $11,000-greater than that of the 300SL and twice that of the XK 140. Despite the increase in price, however, BMW lost money on every 507 produced. It was slightly revised in 1958 with the appearance of the Series II, which offered increased horsepower, standard front disc brakes, and added space behind the seats. Production ceased two and a half years after it began, with only 253 examples built.

The 1957 BMW 507 Roadster offered here is the fifteenth 507 assembled in 1956. The car has undergone a full restoration with the intention of being driven in historical events. The car has been finished in black and appears to be in excellent condition. It is fitted with a new Haartz cloth top and correct Rudge-Whitworth alloy wheels. The interior was reupholstered with red Connolly leather.

The BMW 507 was a brief reinstatement of BMW’s sporting heritage that flourished with the BMW 328 before World War II but would not reappear until the advent of the M Division years later. Owners such as Formula One great John Surtees and Elvis Presley added to the 507’s high profile. It is believed that approximately 80% of all 507s have survived, and the car offered here is an ideal candidate for the growing number of historic events worldwide.

(Introductory description courtesy of RM.)